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Ask three Texans about their favorite Guadalupe River Escapes and you will get three answers that are poles apart.
Eric Johansen kicks off the series below. Eric swears by the River Inn in Hunt, Texas where you can just sit back and relax or use the Inn as a base to explore Kerrville, Lost Maples and other Texas treasures.
For a more rustic river experience, Mick Mikulenka is a die-hard Waltonia Lodges fan, also on Highway 39 outside of Ingram. Waltonia has been around since 1923 and connects you to an earlier, more simple time spent at the river but with some updates.
In the last of the series, I’ll share a story about camping and tubing on the River Road near New Braunfels many years ago. You need to experience this Texan rite of passage and do the River Road camp/tube thing at least once in your life.
It’s going to be a long summer. Why not try all three?
Guadalupe River Escapes # 1 – Relax at River Inn
Eric is also a military brat (Air Force) which explains our shared love of travel and exploration. Eric first spotted the River Inn riding past it on a motorcycle trip in the ‘80s, before he moved to California for 20 years. Returning to Texas when he retired (of course), he and his partner, Judy starting exploring the back roads. They first stayed at The River Inn in 2013 and have been returning ever since.
He and his partner Judy are spending their active retirement road-tripping. When he found out about my blog, Eric told me about the River Inn and why he loves it so much:
Every month or two we get the urge for a peaceful retreat in the Hill Country. The River Inn is just the place. We usually stay for 3 nights because that gives us time to relax next to the Guadalupe River, experience the neat town of Kerrville and the surrounding Hill Country. We go five or six times a years to kickback, relax and unwind as we enjoy this beautiful, tranquil spot on the river. We plop down on lawn chairs on the grassy area, listen to the soothing sound of the water flowing over the dam, watch hawks circle above the river and cliffs and gaze up at the clouds as they drift by. For relaxing, it doesn’t get any better than this!
Everything you need but your bathing suit
The amenities include a “swimming hole” at the dam, a stone water slide, charcoal grills, lawn chairs, picnic tables and outdoor fireplaces. For additional river activities, The River Inn provides, free for your use, tubes, canoes, life jackets, paddles, and fishing poles. If you want to be more active you can swim, fish, tube, or paddle a canoe in the river right outside your unit. And if you want to be even more active, there is a tennis court on the property.
Sixty individually owned condo units (studios,1 and 2 bedrooms) include a queen bed, bathroom with shower, fully equipped kitchen, small dining room table with 4 chairs, living area with a couch, comfortable chair, flat screen TV and free WiFi.
A friendly main lodge
The condominium association rents out the units when owners aren’t using them. They do a great job of maintaining the property and cleaning the units after guests leave. A main lodge area has a big fireplace, board games, big screen TV, etc. and a family room with a ping pong table, pool table and arcade games for the kids. The front desk also offers a variety of items available for purchase including ice, charcoal, and snacks.
We buy our groceries at the HEB store, 300 Main Street in Kerrville. Reminder: if you want to cook on one of the many grills at the Inn, make sure you bring or buy a small bag of charcoal.
Things to Do Nearby
Lost Maples Park: A great place to visit, especially when the Maple trees leaves turn in the Fall. A 45 minute drive southeast of The River Inn through the beautiful Hill Country, Lost Maples is a small, secluded park. The park offers numerous hiking trails, a very nice picnic area next to convenient rest rooms, an ample parking lot and a nearby campground.
Wildlife Drive: On our recent drive through through the Hill Country we were excited to see wild turkeys, a large stag deer and a doe. Even coyotes which are not popular with the local ranchers. We also passed a ranch with herd of long-horn cattle and on another, a herd of native buffalo.
Utopia: This small town is nearby so, when we are in the area, we like to stop in for lunch at the Lost Maples Cafe in. It is an “old school” diner with good food, service and authentic southwest Texas ambiance.
Kerrville: Annual statewide Competition of the Finest Custom Furniture Makers in Texas * happens at the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center in November. You don’t need to know anything about wood or furniture to enjoy it. If you haven’t seen it, it is amazing & is definitely worth a fall visit.. – Eric
Some Funky Texas Traveler additions:
*Eric’s brother has Woodsmiths of Wimberly so Eric knows furniture.
The Hunt Store: A cafe, grocery and live music venue that has been around for almost 70 years, the Hunt Store has become “the community center, emergency center, meeting point, drop off point and local hang out…. Whether it is live music events or café’ dining for the whole family, Hunt School and Ingram School events and meetings or a soap box for local politicians The Store is the hub for all Hunt area activity.”